(This article is geared more towards movement practitioners than other populations, BUT the rule still applies to folks who are serious about exercise and looking to improve their training knowledge)
Instagram, we love it, we hate it, most of us use it for marketing in some context, and sometimes we learn from it…sometimes. If you follow fitness folks all you have to do open the app. It seems like everyone has a brand new “never before seen” exercise, program, piece of equipment, etc., and chances are these videos pour into your feed after a refresh faster than you can say “information overload.”
In the Age of Information, information abounds without regard to quality – meaning all those fitness tips online can go relatively unchecked for relevance, safety, or context for useful application. We often have one, but not all of the necessary answers to who, what, when, where, why, and how?
I am NOT suggesting you delete your instagram and never look at it again, BUT I do want you to ask a few critical questions of the content you’re consuming. At the end I will recommend some literature and some web resources I have found tremendously helpful – after all, Brian Tracy tells us that: “One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.” Is this EXACTLY true, who knows, but is it true that you’re going to learn more from more in depth/quality resources, you bet!
What is being done/used?
Free weights? A parcticular machine or movement? Speciality barbell? Bodyweight exercise?
Why is it being done, what purpose might it serve?
Strength development, power development, muscle gain, conditioning, rehab? How does this exercise/technique/implement fit into my (or my client’s) training goals and long term development plan?
What context is it being done within?
Is this the primary exercise, is it a warmup, is this part of a reconditioning program after injury, or part of a bodybuilder’s program right before a competition? Do my what and why answers fit in this context? Why? Why not?
If I were to use this exercise in my program, does it really fit into the context surrounding my personal goals, development, etc? If not, can I make adaptations in the exercise to make it fit more cohesively with my personal context?
Who is doing it?
Are they older, younger, more or less experienced, are they an athlete with specific needs, an injured person, etc.
If the what, why, and context are taken care of we still need to make sure this all checks out for the person doing it. Sure the what might be a sub max effort barbell deadlift, and the why might be because this is in a powerlifting program, the context might be because it is intended to be part of peaking for a meet – BUT if we’re applying this program to the highschool basketball player recovering from an ACL injury this might not be the proper program for the WHO.
Can I do/use something that is just as effective but simpler?
We can get into the trap of more complicated = better. We can also fall into the trap of learning something new and using it ALL THE TIME. After all, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Maybe that squat didn’t need bands AND chains…maybe the same goals can be accomplished with just bands, or perhaps with just a simple barbell. I like to exhaust my simple and straight forward options FIRST before I over-complicate my or my client’s lives.
Books and Web Resources
Movement – Gray Cook
Functional Training for Sports & Advances in Functional Training – Michael Boyle
Muscles, Testing, and Function with Posture & Pain – Kendall & McCreary
Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes – Shirley Sahrman
Functional Training – Craig Liebenson
Bridging the Gap from Rehab to Performance – Sue Falsone
Triphasic Training – Cal Dietz
Low Back Disorders – Stuart McGill
Basic Biomechanics – Susan Hall
Anatomy Trains – Thomas Myers
The Edge U
Strong By Science
MASS Research Review
Elite Training Mentorship
These are just a few…got more? Comment below!